Openings and Closings

The Block Distilling Co. Mixes Equal Measures Science and Art

The Block Distilling is located inside the Block building in Denver's RiNo district.
The Block Distilling is located inside the Block building in Denver's RiNo district. Veronica Penney
In honor of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, The Block Distilling Co. will be releasing the first bottles of its craft spirits on November 24 and 25, in advance of its tasting room's grand opening on December 16. Vodka and an autumn gin, with notes of clove, peppercorn and cinnamon, will be available for purchase at the distillery, 2990 Larimer Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. The Block will also serve a selection of craft cocktails, a welcome option for those winding down after holiday shopping.

Michelle Flake and brothers Kraig and Kameron Weaver seized the opportunity to launch their distillery when the Block building became available just over two years ago. Inspiration for the distillery was a product of the booming craft-beer scene in Denver, but the founders’ preference for cocktails and craft spirits led them down the route of distilling rather than brewing.

click to enlarge
The Block's vodka is made from oats, wheat and barley.
The Block Distilling Co.
Both Weaver brothers are engineers, which allowed them to pull from their formal training in refining their distilling process.

“It’s all pumps and check valves and very industrial equipment; you can take a very scientific approach to all this,” explains Kraig. “But we also take the artistic approach [that], in the end, it just needs to taste really great. It’s a little bit of cooking and a little bit of chemistry all mixed into one.”

The team is particular about which ingredients go into the Block's craft spirits, opting for high-quality produce including peaches and pears from Palisade and grain from hand-picked local and regional producers. Choice ingredients form the foundation for great spirits, but according to Kraig, the magic is in the distilling process.

“There are a lot of great spirit brands out there, but it is like cooking. If you give the same two people the same ingredients on the same equipment, it’s still going to taste different.”

When the Block Distilling Co. fully opens in December, visitors can expect a full menu of craft cocktails and tasters, as well as a bar and tasting room that seats fifty. Barrel-aged spirits, including whiskey and brandy, will be released as they complete their aging process.

A rotating lineup of limited, in-house-only liquors will also be available, such as chardonnay and riesling grappas made in conjunction with Infinite Monkey Theorem. A second collaboration with Novo Coffee will yield a coffee liqueur early next year.

Beginning December 16, the Block Distilling Co. will be open from 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Fridays, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m Sundays.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Veronica is a contributor to Westword’s Food & Drink section and is equally passionate about cooking and eating. She can be found riding her bike really, really far -- usually farther than intended, thanks to her terrible sense of direction. Her culinary enthusiasm and outdoor adventures are fueled by strong black coffee and the undying hope of finding an excellent cheese plate.